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Queer TransCanadian Women's Writing in the 21st Century: Assembling a New Cross-Border Ethic

  • Author / Creator
    García Zarranz, Libe
  • This dissertation proposes an alternative theorization of borders through the lenses of contemporary queer transCanadian women's writing. Focusing on the first decade of the 21st century, this study examines how the work of Dionne Brand, Emma Donoghue and Hiromi Goto, primarily, dismantles and rearticulates a variety of literal and symbolic boundaries that cut across corporeal, biopolitical and affective structures. By doing so, these authors are assembling a new cross-border ethic that interrogates hegemonic structures of power, proposes new forms of relationality, and creates unexpected alliances between material bodies, often reshaping the cultural, the social, and the ethical fabric. I follow terms like "transCanadian" (Kamboureli and Miki 2007) to analyze how this cross-border ethic is articulated in the following texts: Brand's long poems Ossuaries (2010) and Inventory (2006), the memoir A Map to the Door of No Return (2001), and the novel What We All Long For (2005); Goto's novels, The Water of Possibility (2002), Half-World (2009), and Darkest Light (2012), together with the short-story collection Hopeful Monsters (2004); the collaborative docu-poem Borderless: A Docu-Drama About the Lives of Undocumented Workers (2006); Larissa Lai's poetry in Automaton Biographies; and Donoghue's novels Slammerkin (2000) and Room (2010), together with the short story-collections The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2002) and Astray (2012). This project does not seek to describe what borders are or are not. Instead, my work looks at various written and visual texts as contested sites from which to examine what borders do and undo; in which ways borders shape social and bodily space; and how borders circulate across human and non-human materialities. Combining epistemological and ontological methodologies, this dissertation draws on material feminist theory, philosophically inflected cultural studies, affect theory, and non-humanist political philosophy. This study strives to escape the "glamours of easy globality" (Spivak 2013) and, instead, engage with the imperative to be attentive to the historical and material contingencies of border crossing, which stands as an integral force in the cross-border ethic that these women writers are beginning to assemble.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2013-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R33M5W
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of English and Film Studies
  • Specialization
    • English
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Zwicker, Heather (English and Film Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Zwicker, Heather (English and Film Studies)
    • Carrière, Marie (University Examiner, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Brydon, Diana (External Examiner, University of Manitoba, English, Film, and Theatre)
    • Hjartarson, Paul (English and Film Studies)
    • Demers, Patricia (English and Film Studies)